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The Right Talk - 27th September 2002

The Right talk

From the Office of Bill English - 27th September

Finding a solution to the leaky homes crisis

Home ownership is a big part of the New Zealand way of life. For most people their home is their biggest asset they'll ever own, and their biggest debt. That's why the leaky homes issue is so important.

This is a major crisis affecting tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of people. The cost of fixing it has been estimated at around $240 million, and the issue of who will pay is still undecided. People don't want to muck around playing political games - they just want a constructive solution. That's what National has been working on over the last two weeks.

We're proposing to set up a Weathertightness Tribunal as a practical way to help homeowners suffering losses from the leaky homes syndrome. This Tribunal would hear from homeowners and make a decision on who is liable, similar to the way the tenancy tribunal works.

The Government says that people should get a lawyer to sort the problem out. This just isn't practical. The legal process is too expensive for most people and it will take so long, their homes could be condemned by the time they get to court.

To find out the latest information on this issue you can visit the website www.leakyhomes.co.nz , which has details on how to make submissions to Parliament and have your voice heard.

The Week In Politics...

*Bill English was in Auckland on Thursday visiting homes affected by the crisis. There are some heartbreaking stories coming through about people affected who can't afford the repairs, but are stuck with houses they can't sell. In some cases they are pensioners who have worked all their lives to afford their own home.

That's why we hope the Government will support our idea of setting up a Tribunal.

*The NCEA debacle is getting more confused. The PPTA have voted this week to lift their ban on implementing level 2, saying that their members will now decide on what to offer next year.

What it means is that most principals, students and their parents still don't know what qualification they'll be doing next year. The worst part is the same kids who have been mucked around this year are going to be guinea pigs again next year for Level 2.

*National MPs have organised a public meeting in Christchurch over the leaky homes issue for this Sunday. Christchurch solicitor Hugh Matthews, building certifier Malcolm Davies, property surveyor Alan French, and Real Estate Institute representative Peter Neylon will address the meeting.

The meeting is at 2.30pm Sunday in the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church Hall, corner of Oxford Terrace and Madras Street next to the fire station.

*The Hummingbird bar in Wellington is making the most of publicity over Winston Peter's fracas there last week. Their cocktail of the week is "Politician's Punch".

*Last week's rugby game between the Parliamentary Rugby team and the NZ musicians ended in a narrow victory for the MPs, 12-10. The game featured a rematch of sorts between Bill English and Ted "Psyclone" Clarke, who appeared for the musician's team.

Any feedback and contributions are welcome - email us at feedback@national.org.nz

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